Your Vet Can Save You Money

Pets are part of the family. You care for and worry about them. And, it’s not long before you realize they can run up expenses, too.

Dogs, cats, birds, and family varmints of all sorts need preventive medical care on a regular basis. And, their emergency care creates unexpected, often high expenses.

Your vet can save you money.

You don’t need to hear it, but every time you use your credits cards, the merchant must pay very sizable fees. They pay per transaction and a charge computed on the volume of their transactions.

The Small Business Administration warns small business owners, “Typical merchant account companies can charge up to 5% of everything a company earns with prices consisting of merchant processing costs, gateway fees, interchange costs, Visa, MasterCard, American Express charges, statement fees and so on.”

That’s at least 5% of the business’s gross, a charge the business will pass on to customers. Those banks or merchant services claim the small business presents a higher risk and that justifies higher costs. If effect, that favors larger businesses.

What’s the problem?

Well, every time you pay your vet by credit card, you launch a series of events. The vet’s office will pay a fee to process your payment. A big bite out of that goes the bank the issued the card in the first place because it is lending money to you, the customer. This is a cost of doing business, just as paying the fees for liquor licensing are part of the bar industry.

The biggest names in credit cards, MasterCard and Visa, use their own electronic networks, and they receive a fee for the use of the network. Then, the vet’s bank gets a piece of the action for accepting payment from the credit card company. Or, if there is a third-party processor, they get paid, too.

Newsday quoted Scott McManus, a small business owner, as saying, “The problem people miss is that they think that 3, 4, 5, 6 percent is not a big percentage, but after your gross sales, it is…After rent and other expenses like labor, it’s a huge deal.”

Moving his processing to a merchant service provide, McManus was able to save enough money to create a 401(k) plan for his employees.

Now, about your vet.

Veterinarians run small businesses, often family-owned. To customers and their pets, they are professionals who care. But, like any business, they struggle with overhead and try to balance it with customer needs.

What SBA recommends is the opportunity provided by merchant service providers who specialize in specific niche markets. Dharma Merchant Services, for example, offer veterinarian card services

For example, Jeff Marous, co-founder of Dharma Merchant Services, offered veterinarian card services that saved an animal hospital $25,000 a year. As Jeff says, “that’s a new part-time employee, a few new expensive machines, or supplies for thousands of animals.”

How does this help you?

Your vet runs a relationship business. When improved savings still allow you the convenience of credit and debit card payment, the relationship and loyalty strengthen.

It’s also in your interest when the vet is successful. The vet’s success earns economies of scale than benefits customers, too.

When the vet does not have to chase accounts because the money came through immediately, the vet saves on personnel costs and earns interest on the float through the bank.

And, if the vet does research and smart shopping, he or she can contract with the merchant services providing the most transparent cost and fees profile.

That alone gives the vet the confidence that the treatment pricing is clean and fair.